Massawyrm Lets The SUNSHINE In And Faces It With A Grin!!
Published at: July 27, 2007, 10:14 a.m. CST by merrick
Hola all. Massawyrm here.
There have been a lot of highly entertaining films this summer, and as the usual This summer sucks!/This summer rules! debate continues, one thing is certain – while there have many films that will linger on in popular culture for quite some time, and live out their days on a great many dvd shelves, there has yet to be a film that might have a profound effect on a genre or other filmmakers as a whole. In other words, we haven't really had a film that makes people stand up and say I want to make a film just like that! Until now.
While it is not the loudest, the flashiest, the funniest or even the most fun of any of the films I have seen this summer, I absolutely believe Sunshine is the best. It is a film, that while watching it I thought to myself I wish I could watch a movie like this every day of my life. And I do. It's that good.
Sunshine is effectively a much darker, bolder and far reaching version of the classic science fiction tale Cold Equations (a science fiction story so good they actually teach it in High School.) And it gets to the very heart of what science fiction does best – putting characters in extraordinary circumstances and metaphorical hypotheticals, and then letting their humanity come out to play, warts and all. And Sunshine does this in top form. The situation is dire, the setup plausible and every human reaction is painful and thoroughly believable. They effectively took that really great astronaut subplot from Deep Impact and ramped it up with a much deeper, and less emotionally manipulative framework.
Personally, I love what Boyle is up to. He's quickly jumping from genre to genre, much like a young John Carpenter, adding his unique brand of intelligent, thoughtful, lyrical filmmaking and his indie sensibilities to genres in which most films seem to scream "More money! Dump in more money!" in the place of characterization and plot. Boyle treats each genre with respect – and you can really feel his love for them with each film. And this is no different.
But there is a point, during the third act turn, in which Danny Boyle pulls out one of his huge left turns, much like what happened at the end of 28 Days Later - and the film veers so far off the course you expect, that some audience members weren't quite sure what to make of it. Compounding this problem is the fact that this film refuses to spoon feed you, expecting you to piece a few things together yourself, and you end up with a film that loses a few folks along the way. But if you give yourself over to it and follow the logic, the end result is highly entertaining and extremely satisfying.
Speaking of logic, I do have to say if one thing is bothering me about this it is one of the lynch pins of the premise. You see, the sun is dying. And what is Hollywood's response? I know, let's strap a bunch of astronauts to the back of a bomb and launch them headlong into the sun. Um, okay. That sounds…plausible enough. Fortunately for me I'm buddies with Copernicus, our resident real life Astrophysicist. And he assured me that Hollywood actually has it right.
Wyrm, he reassured me, I understand how hard it is to understand for a layman like yourself, but we scientists are working hard every day to solve the astrophysical problems of tomorrow with the nuclear weapon technology of today. For example, say the core of the earth were to stop spinning. "Wait, the core of the Earth could stop spinning?" Sure, and when it does, we're gonna strap what we scientists refer to as a BIG FUCKALL BOMB to the back of a drill and send it straight towards the center of the Earth.
"Wait, but what if say an Asteroid were to collide with the planet?" Well then we'd have to send a drill out into space to strap a bomb to the back to. But of course, that would require oil drillers – which you'd have to train as astronauts first. Fortunately for us, their skill sets are very similar.
"But what if, say, a large comet were discovered by someone, like, Frodo? What then?" Well, then we'd have to send astronauts out with robot drills that we could strap a BIG FUCKALL BOMB to. "Wait. Do you always need a drill?" Oh, heavens no. Only when you need one. If you're gonna send a nuclear weapon into the sun, you don't need to drill down into it. That would just be silly. Wyrm, what you're failing to grasp is that there is little in this universe that can't be improved by shoving a big fuckall bomb right up its ass. I mean, sure, thirty years ago nuclear weapons were only good for commies and aliens – you'd just nuke em from from orbit. It was the only way to be sure. But could you imagine what it would be like if Disney had been aware of the advances we've made today? Do you realize what could have happened at the end of THE BLACK HOLE? "That would be fucking awesome!" Yeah, that's exactly what Stephen Hawkings said.
So if you can get past that teensy, tiny little plot point and politely accept that this is the very last time we'll accept this solution, then you should be fine. Otherwise I'm gonna sit down and start writing a new screenplay. It's about this hurricane that's about to slam into the coast, and a group of scientists…
But all kidding aside, I loved the hell out of this. It was everything I've been hoping for. It's smart and heady, but never pretentious. Of all of Boyle's films, this one will probably end up my favorite, if only because I'm a huge hard sci-fi fan and he managed to make a film unlike we've seen in a long time. This one comes Recommended to most and HIGHLY RECOMMENDED to science fiction buffs.
With apologies to Copernicus…
Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em.